Martin, Chay tie for the lead after the first round at The Country Club of the South
Wagner holds a four-shot lead in the Girls Division at Exide Technologies Junior Open
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Joshua Martin of Pinehurst, N.C., and Joshua Chay of Greer, S.C., each shot 2-under-par 70 to vie for top honors at the Exide Technologies Junior Open. Samantha Wagner of Windermere, Fla., carded an even-par 72 to pull ahead in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Exide Technologies Junior Open is a 36-hole stroke play competition played at The Country Club of the South. The par-72 course plays 6,927 yards for the boys and 6,057 yards for the girls. The 78-player field features players from 13 states, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Colombia and Mexico, with 32 participants hailing from Georgia.
Martin surged in the second half of his round by crafting accurate approach shots and making birdies on his last six holes. One of the youngest players in the field, the 14-year-old made it a point to be cool, calm and collected while out on the course.
“This course can be difficult if you get too aggressive,” Martin said. “I just tried to stay patient and let the game come to me.”
Chay, who has signed with Furman University, also kept a level head during the first round. The 17-year-old made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 6 and 7, and stayed consistent despite some bad breaks.
“I had a couple hiccups, but I played the ball well and hit it well,” Chay said. “I have a lot of confidence in my putter and I plan on playing it easy tomorrow.”
Alpharetta, Ga. native Billy Kennerly shot a 1-under-par 71 to sit in second place one-stroke behind the lead after the first round. Justin Cho of Norcross, Ga., and JD Tomlinson of Gainesville, Fla., round out the top five in the Boys Division with matching 1-over-par 73s.
In the Girls Division, Wagner finished the front nine with three consecutive birdies to solidify her four-shot lead. After a second-place finish last year, the 14-year-old dealt with the windy conditions by staying consistent and focusing on her swing.
“Although I had some trouble with my driver, I felt pretty good about my round,” Wagner said. “I think that if I just keep steady I won't have any challenges tomorrow.”
Sophia Schubert of Oak Ridge, Tenn., sits in second place with a 4-over-par 76, followed by a three-way tie for third at 5-over-par 77 between Allison Emrey of Charlotte, N.C., Rachel Dai of Suwanee, Ga., and Jessica Haigwood of Roswell, Ga.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 40 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel.
Final-round tee times will run from 8-10 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at The Country Club of the South. For more information about the Exide Technologies Junior Open, contact tournament headquarters at (770) 601-5196.